A judge imposes a fine on petitioners who brought suit against the government in an attempt to end its arms exports to the Philippines, sending a clear message to those protesting Israel’s complicity with some of the world’s most repressive regimes.
Judge Gilia Ravid of the Tel Aviv District Court issued a ruling Thursday on the petition filed by human rights attorney Eitay Mack on behalf of more than 50 human rights activists, who demanded that Israel cease its arms exports to the Philippines. As is customary with petitions of this kind, the hearing was held in camera and the ruling itself was embargoed. However, in an unusual move, the judge imposed a 10,000 NIS ($2,800) fee in legal costs on the petitioners — the only part of the ruling that was cleared for publication.
In response to the state’s request, the hearing was held in camera “to prevent any damage to state security and foreign relations.” While this is the norm for such proceedings, one cannot help but wonder about the motive behind and effectiveness of such a request, since most of the evidence submitted by the petitioners was already in the public domain and had been reported by both Israeli and international media.
The petition was based on official press releases by Philippine authorities that lay out the arms purchases from Israel in detail. The evidence includes posts on the Facebook page of the Philippine police, Coast Guard, and a weapons company that facilitates sales with Israel, in addition to official reports published by Philippine police, the Defense Ministry, and government media.
During Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Israel in September 2019, he admitted to ordering his security forces to purchase weapons only from Israel, since, as opposed to the United States, Germany and even China, Israel does not place any restrictions on its arms deals. He made this statement at a press conference in Jerusalem, in the presence of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and several world leaders.
How Duterte’s government is using these weapons is also no secret. According to human rights groups, since Duterte assumed office in June 2016, Philippine police and militias associated with it have killed at least 12,000 people without due process, as part of the regime’s “war on drugs.”
If all the information in the petition is open and available to the public, why was the hearing held in private? And why was the judge’s ruling embargoed? As usual, the magic...Read More